Friday, July 15, 2011

Home Run Derby needs to change or end

By Jeff

MLB's Home Run Derby during the All-Star Break has lost all of its allure.

It's just boring now watching sluggers take batting practice. It's even more boring watching them take pitch after pitch. And it's really annoying listening to Chris Berman and the other commentators act shocked at how far balls are going on every home run. I mean, these guys are routinely hitting it 400 feet or greater, and these commentators are in awe of every one. When a player does something rare, like Josh Hamilton hitting 28 first-round bombs, then it's OK to go nuts for every home run. That's exciting. That type of feat rarely happens.

Instead of seeing Hamilton-like shows, we're forced to sit through the Matt Kemps and Rickie Weeks-type players, who hit two homers but still take five pitches between swings. It's so boring.

So the league needs to either get rid of the event, which they won't do because it makes a lot of money, or change it up. It was cute that they had captains pick the squads this year, but it served no purpose. It wasn't AL versus NL. It was still every man for himself.

MLB might be on to something with their tiebreaker. The players vying for the second round only got five swings regardless of the result. Why not do that for the whole event? Give each player 10 swings. Of course, this would make moments like the Josh Hamilton show impossible, but we've already established that performances like his are few and far between. And it's kind of ridiculous that Hamilton didn't even win that year because you reset for the final. Just another issue I have with the spectacle.

Now, if you limit the number of swings, that also limits the charity ball. I love that a sponsor will donate large amounts of money to charity for every home run hit with nine outs. It's the one thing MLB has right with the derby. Well, how about we limit the swings to 10, but once you have nine swings you get an extra swing for every home run you hit. That will keep the charity ball in play and still speed up the derby.

None of this will ever happen though. The money is too good for MLB and ESPN. If the derby isn't four hours, then ESPN won't get as many advertisers.

At least I can dream, right?

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - The Waiting

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